By: MarkJ - 28 September, 2011 (8:54 AM)
p2p copyright uk ISP file sharing lawgoldeneye internationalGolden Eye International, a law firm that claims to hold numerous film copyrights and is linked with the Ben Dover porn brand in the UK, has attempted to sue three broadband ISP customers for "illegal" internet copyright infringement (piracy) after at least one of the accused failed to respond when a letter arrived demanding a payment of £700 (i.e. "speculative invoicing") to settle the dispute.

Despite the spectacular failure of similar cases by solicitor firms ACS:Law (Andrew Crossley) and Davenport Lyons UK (example), both of which have since been slapped down by the courts and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), Golden Eye has still attempted to reuse the same widely discredited tactic.

According to TorrentFreak, Golden Eye is said to have sought for the case to be tried in a County Court but appears to have promptly attempted a pullout after it became clear that they would instead need to appear before the London Patents County Court (Judge Birss QC) on 8th August 2011.

Judge Birss QC is perhaps best known for putting the smack down on ACS:Law / MediaCAT's "amateurish and slipshod" attempts to sue 27 individuals (here) that had been accused of a similar offence. The law firm soon realised that it couldn't win and moved to close the case, so as to avoid paying any costs, but this was refused and ACS:Law eventually shut up shop.

Judge Colin Birss QC said:

"Right away it will be seen that these claims bear some striking similarities to the claims in the litigation concerning the company Media CAT Ltd, the subject of my judgment Media CAT v Adams [2011].. However I should also make clear that there may very well be important differences between the present cases and the Media CAT cases. At this stage I do not know."

In order to proceed further Ben Dover Productions, which owns the rights to the adult video 'Fancy an Indian?' (the one that is alleged to have been shared), will need to join with Golden Eye and thus potentially put themselves at risk of becoming liable for a Wasted Costs claim if the case were to fail like ACS:Law's did.

Law firms typically track related piracy by monitoring the Internet Protocol ( IP ) addresses of online users, which are assigned to your computer each time you go online and made public by BitTorrent (P2P) networks. However IP's can easily be faked, hijacked or even shared (e.g. public Wi-Fi, office networks etc.) in ways that, as the SRA's Timothy Dutton QC described during the summer, turns it into evidence of the "flimsiest" variety.

It would be a fair bet, given the history of such cases, to say that Judge Colin Birss QC probably won't appreciate having to try another ACS:law style case so soon after the last one. One to watch.
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